About a year ago, I was asked by Trevi House if I would undertake a skydive for them to help raise much needed funds. I have never felt the need to throw myself from a plane at 15,000 feet, but without hesitation I agreed.
Why would I do this?
Because Trevi House is an invaluable resource, and because the CEO of Trevi, Hannah Shead, is an inspiration. At the heart of Trevi House is a drive and passion to break the cycle of addiction and support a positive reintegration into society, whilst laying the foundation to a child-centric life view. The statistics provided by Trevi speak for themselves – these suggest that mothers who retain care of their children whilst undergoing intensive rehabilitation are a massive 76% more likely to overcome their addiction than those whose children are removed.
Rehabilitation at Trevi House is not a walk in the park. Indeed, 40% of women of women do not complete the programme and leave without their children. It is of course right that the child’s welfare is the paramount concern, but it is arguable that the child’s welfare is best served by being provided with every realistic opportunity to remain within their birth family. Trevi House offers mothers fighting addiction a unique opportunity to make this happen, whilst at the same time seeking the intensive treatment that they need.
This is why I agreed to challenge myself and my anxieties and launch myself into the sky at Dunkeswell Airfield. Anyone that knows me realises that I rarely do anything that prevents me from wearing my beloved 4inch heels. At just over 5ft tall, 15,000 feet is really quite a height for me.
I convinced my friends Anne Shears and Helen Bull, both solicitors at Nash and Co, to join me in this challenge – and they agreed. We were incredibly lucky with the weather – it was a beautiful, clear day, and we could see for miles. The ascent took 10 minutes, and the descent a mere 5 minutes – 60 seconds of that was a 10,000 feet freefall! It was an incredible experience. The exhilaration from the freefall is unlike anything I have ever experienced, and the gentle glide from 5,000 feet to the ground was utterly phenomenal. The views were breathtaking and will stay with me for a long time.
My one condition to agreeing to the skydive was that I wanted to choose my instructor – I was very fortunate to be able to do this, and Neil was fantastic. He was filled with a mischievous sense of humour, and that relaxed me. He allowed me to fly the parachute for a period, and that really was an experience. Neil’s joke about letting go of the straps too soon prompted an ear piercing scream entirely of his own making. He managed my anxieties and wasn’t at all concerned at the volume of my screams, squeals and laughter!
I am delighted to have raised £1,240 so far for this worthy cause. Skydiving is absolutely an extraordinary experience, and I would encourage anyone considering it to do it. It will remain a once in a lifetime experience for me, however.
Further donations are very welcome – please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/carrie-laws
Anyone that needs reminding of the incredible work undertaken by Trevi House is encouraged to watch the BBC Panorama documentary that aired last year – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EHQPd6ToUA